—Elise Gobron ‘21
On the weekend of May 18th, the 2018-2019 Monitors hosted the very first St. Mark’s Arts Festival, SMAF, on the athletic quad. The Monitors hope that SMAF will help promote the arts and give all of the talented artists here at St. Mark’s a platform to showcase their talents. At the arts festival, there were several categories under which artists could perform including music, poetry, dance, and film.
The girls A Capella group here on campus, the Royal Blues, were among the first musical acts to perform. After just two weeks of rehearsals, the group was able to debut “I’m Stuck” by Noah Cyrus. The performance featured solos by VI formers Clem McKeown and Mei-Mei Arms, as well as beatboxing by Padma Mynampaty. With seven graduating seniors including Cait Lochhead, June Seong, and Shelby Howard as well as co-heads Haley Dion and Mary Flathers, the performance was one of the collective group’s last performances. While seniors will be dearly missed by the Royal Blues, the group still has a few more performances left in the year.
A number of poets were also able to perform including Bethany Batista, Brendan Peters, and Crawford Wittman. Bethany showcased an original poem in an emotional and captivating performance. Brendan and Crawford found inspiration from the movie 22 Jump Street and preformed a slam poetry scene from the film. Titled “Cynthia”, the comedic slam poetry performance received an abundance of laughter from the audience as well as great applause. While Ms. Adams was unfortunately unable to attend the event, her poem “ ;-) ” was read aloud by advisee Alexander Sumner.
Anishka Yerabothu took the opportunity presented at SMAF to showcase a traditional style Indian dance along with the help of dancers Kate Normandin, Gift Paekul, Laura Sabino, and Ms. Zhu. During this spring term, Anishka taught a Saturday class on traditional Indian dance and choreographed a dance with the dancers who took the class. The dance was set to a mix between “Shape of You” by Ed Sheeran and traditional Indian music. The class wore saris and showed what they they had learned over the course of seven Saturday classes classes on the grass of the athletic quad.
One of the other new changes made possible by SMAF was the debut of the annual student directed One Acts. While typically performed in the black box, these short three to five minute skits were instead set up on the athletic quad as well. Kate Normandin was among the sixth form members who chose to direct a one act. One of the two directed by Kate was titled “I Remember the Leg” and showcased actors Haley Dion, Frances Hornbostel, Megan Christy, and Hannah Hassara. In the skit, each actor explained a short interaction their character had with a sole leg creating a comical and entertaining story line.
To conclude the event, short films created by both Colin Capenito and Hans Wu were premiered. Overall the audience awarded great applause to both short films as well as the other acts. With snow cones, cotton candy, and other snacks, audience members were kept full and entertained as many claimed to have thoroughly enjoyed the arts festival. As it is a great way to showcase the artistic talents of many St. Mark's students and earned positive reviews by community members, SMAF was a successful event that students hope will be held in the future.